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Role/Play at Kendall College shows that sometimes less is more

Sometimes what pieces are made out of steal all the glory. In Kendall's exhibition "Role/Play," what the work is made from only begins to scratch the surface of this expertly curated show.
Underwriting support from:
Mr. Weekend by Mike Simi

Mr. Weekend by Mike Simi /Alexandra Fluegel

The Land  Up North by Jarod Charzewski

The Land Up North by Jarod Charzewski /Alexandra Fluegel

Exhibition Centers have become the foundations of many people’s ArtPrize experience, often hosting the largest bodies of work, giving folks the ability to see more in less time. This year, one of the those Exhibition Centers, Kendall College of Art and Design, shows that sometimes less is more, as is the case with “Role/Play,” which features the work of 13 artists at two locations.

Curated by Michele Bosak, Sarah Joseph, and Tanya Bakija, “Role/Play” has a feeling of completeness that is largely absent amidst the myriad of exhibitions containing works with no relation to one another. It is refreshing. It is challenging. And it’s fun.

The curatorial statement describes “Role/Play” as “using both traditional and unconventional materials, the exhibiting artists question and interpret the functions and perceived notions of the artist, the viewer, concepts or materials…”

Unconventional materials such as a room full of recycled clothing, as seen in Jarod Charzewski’s piece The Land Up North, or a 12-foot tall sock puppet named Mr. Weekend made from a machine made obsolete by the automobile market.
Created by Mike Simi, Mr. Weekend greets viewers with a robotic speech containing a variety of observations that range from silly to profound. At first glance, a laugh may be the initial reaction to the piece’s bulging eyes, but upon listening to the duration of his “infinite loop,” there are ideas relating to industry, art and life waiting to be unveiled.

Not far from Mr. Weekend is an installation entitled Moulding by Nicole Vlado. A former architect, Vlado uses beeswax molds of her mouth to “explore the limits of mass-production, the impossibility of replication, and the intimacy of the contact made between cast and mold.” Each mold is attached to the wall with a pushpin, giving a subtle contrast to the otherwise delicate work.

“Role/Play” achieves a sense of balance difficult to do with such a variety of mediums and materials. Many of the pieces throw the viewer delightfully off-kilter, giving way to those precious moments of hesitation and understanding that are inherent to quality contemporary art. 

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